Monday, January 12, 2004

You're actually not supposed to shake Polaroids...

As much as I like pop music, I generally stay away from novelty hits -- disposable music, as I recently heard someone call it. I guess I don't listen to the right (or wrong, as it were) kind of radio or watch enough MTV to really be infected by songs like "Macarena," "The Ketchup Song," "The Thong Song," or "Tubthumping." And as catchy as these tunes may be, they're also pretty much BAD.

But last week I downloaded Outkast's "Hey Ya!" and I hate myself a little bit for it. I just couldn't resist its nightmarish pull. It seems like it's constantly in my head. It was referenced in an online comic I read; they played it on the middle-of-the-road top 40 radio station I listen to in the shower that would usually never play anything so "hard;" it's on Bravo, for god's sake! I just couldn't resist it.

Sadly, listening to it has not gotten it out of my head, nor do I know the words any better than before, as they are completely unintelligible.

The iTunes Music Store has been getting better every week, and in so doing it's getting more and more evil. I used to use it occasionally to buy popular songs, especially if I was afraid that someone might be monitoring a free download (not that I would ever download music illegally, of course). Now I've noticed myself going straight to iTunes no matter what I'm looking for, without even thinking about it. Moreover, I'm browsing when I'm bored, without looking for anything specific, and this is where it gets dangerous.

As the store gets more popular, they're adding content like crazy. They just added Billboard Hot 100 playlists, where you can get all the hits by year. There are iTunes Essentials playlists which, like anything that calls itself "essential" are spotty, but also totally fun to browse. New artists and older albums are being added all the time, and they're easy to find from the front page. They finally have a decent selection of cast albums (as if I need more of those!).

I'm not sure how I even ended up there, but something I clicked yesterday took me to Harry Belafonte. I have little to no interest in Harry Belafonte, but before I knew it I'd downloaded "Jump In The Line" (from Beetlejuice), and "Turn The World Around" a song I loved when I was little and he did it on The Muppet Show (with vaguely creepy African mask Muppets). For $1.98 this isn't bad, but it will be if I do it every day. I think I'm enjoying the instant gratification. Oh, I like that song, and in two minutes that song is on my Precious -- I mean my iPod. I don't even have to do anything to pay, it just shows up on my credit card (and therein lies the danger).

I'm just such a sucker for technology. I'm all about the digital revolution. I guess I just should have seen it coming that it would wind up costing me money.

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